Millencolin - Machine 15
Record Label: Burning Heart Records / Epitaph Records
Release Date: March 22, 2008 (Australia); April 7, 2008 (Europe); May 6, 2008 (USA)
Oh, Millencolin. After 17 years and 8 albums, you are still going strong as one of Sweden’s most prolific rock acts and one of the few bands still in existence people in their 20’s can look back fondly upon and remember as one of the first bands to inspire them. You’ve lasted this long without any massive mainstream success and boy, are we glad you guys are still out there making music.
With that said, let’s face facts here: Millencolin will never record another Pennybridge Pioneers, the 2000 landmark album many claim to be the highlight of their nearly two decade career span. Since Pennybridge Pioneers was released, Millencolin – composed of vocalist/bassist Nikola Sarcevic, lead guitarist Erik Ohlsson, rhythm guitarist Mathias Farm, and drummer Fredrik Larzon – have gone from arguably their most mainstream release (2002’s Home from Home) to a more back-to-basics approach (2005’s Kingwood), earning mixed reviews along the way. Even though the band has received its fair share of criticism since Pennybridge Pioneers, they have retained the same attitude and the same core members, something any music fan can tip his hat to.
After going so long without a huge single to boost sales, it almost feels like Millencolin are due something big. Their latest full-length release Machine 15 reflects this desire by toning down the anger and high-octane punk rock felt on earlier albums, instead dishing out pop rock hooks alongside a glossy production value. Normally Millencolin have strayed from this maneuver, but with Machine 15 the songs don’t stick with you like they did on previous albums. They've ditched their faster numbers for basic three-chord verse-chorus-verse tunes and definitely emphasize the pop aspect of their sound. While Sarcevic’s vocals have improved immensely over the years, and it’s evident he enjoys crooning out a ballad or a delectable pop diddy (and to be honest, the dude knows melody), fans are accustomed to the skate-punk spirit Millencolin used to present rather than the love songs.
“Detox” is a great lead single choice but lacks the meat fans ultimately yearn for; it’s fluff, and while catchy, it’s forgettable. “Done is Done” is out of place, throwing the trajectory of the disc off course immediately. “Vicious Circle,” “Saved by Hell,” and “Ducks & Drakes” are too caught up in displaying a gentler side to the band, and while change is necessary in the music business, it’s far too sudden for a band known for its high intensity to evoke a new sound upon their listeners. The lead title track is deceptive, indicating the disc will be fast paced and just as rollicking as Kingwood was. However, Sarcevic has let the sugary-pop seep into his subconscious and strays as far away from For Monkeys and Life on a Plate as he can. The listener is never given a chance to be amped up, and with the majority of the energetic songs on the latter half of the disc, the case may be that the listener has already lost interest. The record also never quite captures the lyrical euphoria and intentional humor that was at hand in earlier material, and the songs simply validate the fact that all us old school Millencolin fans are just getting older.
Machine 15 in not necessarily a bad record, it is just far too dissimilar and mellower than the Millencolin sound we are used to. In due time, it could be an album that will grow on people and be appreciated for its maturity, but with bands like Lagwagon and NOFX who have been around as long as Millencolin has, the lack of humor and straightforward pop rock approach doesn’t feel right, and the album suffers as a result.
I'm still looking forward to this album. Home From Home is actually my favorite Millencolin album, but they are one of my all-time faves. Pretty much everything they do is gold, I hope this is no different.
Best album to date !!! I prefer their poppy side than the old school skate-punk formula ..
you have to check out these songs NOW!!!!
"Brand New Game" i cant just get it out of my head!!!!!!!
"Vicious Circle" and "Come on" summer pop-punk diamonds!
"Saved by Hell" and "Done is Done" .... String Section on powerchords ... it sounds soooo EPIC!!! i cant describe what i want to say with my broken English .. JUST LISTEN THESE SONGS !!!!!!
I wasnt expecting so much after their Not-so-good "Kingwood" but I was really surprised with Machine 15. Thats their best album to date along with Home from Home. They are too talented to stick with plain fast pop-punk songs. Songs like "Saved by Hell" or "Vicious Circle" it could be easily be in top 10 on charts if they were sang from a popular band like Green Day or Offspring. But i m sure they are HUGE right now in their country!
bullshit.. am i the only one who thinks they are getting better and better with each album!
Brand New Game is like best song i've heard in pop-punk for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time! and ... Saved by Hell is by far their BEST SONG EVER!